So, today is Election Day and for the past few weeks my news feed has been rammed with endless adverts, opinions and calls to unite the people…
And I completely get it. For most of those within my community, animal welfare is paramount & the environment is a hot topic (and both causes are incredibly important to me too) but amidst all of the campaigning and the tactical voting, I think we’ve missed a trick: I think that we’ve forgotten to take responsibility for ourselves and the immediate spaces around us.
I go out running/walking most days and predominantly in urban areas. I run down streets strewn with litter and stop endlessly to pick bits up: there’s so much that I focus only on those pieces that will be of immediate danger to wildlife like hedgehogs and birds, snagging, catching and trapping them.
Recently I’ve kept an eye out to see if anyone else is bothering and so far, I’ve not seen another person stop to pick up even one single piece. There’s so much, so what’s the point?
I’ve wanted to write this article for a while - it’s been dancing around in the back of my mind as the litter has piled up and the people have strolled on - but what’s sparked me to finally sit down and tap, tap away on my laptop was passing a skip full of what was once soil and lawn, from yet another front garden that has been paved over. And perched jauntily atop the soil were takeaway coffee cups destined for landfill, not recycling.
Our wildlife and pollinators are plummeting due (primarily) to loss of habitat and human impact and we’re still paving over our gardens. Our trees (our poor, relentlessly annihilated trees) aren’t apparently worth the effort of recycling.
More and more I see us - as a nation - campaigning ONLINE for change… Why can’t we BE the change?
Those who are campaigning for the environment, for the climate crisis, what about cleaning up our streets? Now, together? Rewilding our gardens? Organising hedgehog streets? Feeding the birds?
Why do we need a politician to unite us, to allow us to stand for something, to represent us? Why can’t we represent ourselves and BE the change that we want to see in the world?
When did we stop taking pride over our local areas? When did we - as a nation - begin to walk blindly, crushing plastic and kicking bottles aside under our feet as we stare at screens and exult in our roles as online activists or political lobbyists?
We have so many choices every single day and just ONE of those choices could be to pick up litter as we walk, to clean up our local areas and then GREEN up our local areas, proactively enabling wildlife by gifting them a chance to survive in our cities and towns instead of getting their tiny feet & toes tangled up in rubbish?
So, I don’t care who you’re voting for. Take action TODAY and not just via the ballot box. Step out of your front door and start cleaning up outside your door. Fill your home with plants (nurture and embrace them - they’re filtering the very air that you and your family are breathing!) and stop paving over your lawns, for goodness sake! (For all of our sakes!)